Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, the beleaguered archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has resigned, it was announced this morning. According to a report published in the Washington Post, Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché also resigned, ten days after prosecutors charged the archdiocese of mishandling complaints related to claims of clergy sexual abuse.
Neither Archbishop Nienstedt nor Bishop Piché is accused of wrongdoing, and the departure of these good and holy men represents a great loss for the Catholic community in the Twin Cities area. Nonetheless, Archbishop Nienstedt expressed his hope that that leaving his post would provide an opportunity for healing.
In a statement issued early this morning, the Archbishop said,
“In order to give the Archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face, I have submitted my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I have just received word that he has accepted it. My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works of His Church and those who perform them.”
Archbishop Nienstedt added that he would
“…leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.”
Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Bernard Hebda, auxiliary bishop in Newark, as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese.
This has been a long time coming.
Unfortunately, it appears that this sad news has crashed the website of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; so I’m not able to give you the statement in its entirety at this time. I can, though, link to my earlier post from 2013, outlining the campaign by activists and unfair reporting in the local media which served to unfairly discredit the Archbishop.
Please join with me in praying for the Archbishop and his auxiliary bishop, for the people of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and for the Catholic Church in the world.